Saturday could prove to be a monumental day for everyone associated with Mansfield Town as we bid to become Blue Square Bet Premier champions.
A victory against Wrexham at One Call Stadium, or if title-rivals Kidderminster Harriers fail to beat relegation-threatened Stockport County, would see us lift the league trophy.
Our meeting with Andy Morrell’s men, whom we lost to in North Wales a fortnight ago, looks almost certain to be a rip-roaring encounter packed with high drama.
We go into the clash on the back of an incredible victory at Hereford United in midweek, where Matt Green’s dramatic last-gasp strike fired us back to the league summit.
Meanwhile, Wrexham drew on home soil with Braintree Town, our conquerors last weekend, but it was a bittersweet night for the Reds, as top-scorer Danny Wright dislocated an elbow.
Wright has since been ruled out for the remainder of the campaign, and he joins a lengthy injury-list, which includes Joslain Mayebi and Martin Riley amongst others.
Nevertheless, burly centre-back Mark Creighton returned to action for the first time in eight months, as the Reds’ second-string drew with Gateshead on Wednesday.
FROM THE MANAGERS:
Our boss Paul Cox said: “I want to make sure that the whole club goes into this game with the right mind-set, which is hungry, but level. We don’t want to be over-psyched.
“We’ve put ourselves in a position where, if we win, we’re crowned as champions. We have to be positive, but we’re mentally switched on, focussed and we’re looking forward to it.”
Meanwhile, Reds supremo Andy Morrell said after their draw: “I don't know if I've walked under a ladder or in front of a hundred black cats, because our luck at the moment is horrendous.”
“I simply can’t send my strongest side to Mansfield. I don't want to hand the title to anybody, so I'll send what I can but I can't risk losing any more players.
He added: “It seems that everything is conspiring against us at the minute, but sometimes I think we’re best when our backs are against the wall.”
We boast the best home form in the Blue Square Bet Premier, having accumulated 51 points out of a possible 66 available, in games played at One Call Stadium this term.
Our side have also won their last nine successive games on home soil, during an impressive run which started with a 5-0 thumping of mid-table Dartford in February.
Furthermore, we are also top scorers in the division, having scored on 91 occasions, whilst striker Matt Green looks set to clinch the prestigious ‘Golden Boot’ award.
However, beating Wrexham is going to be a tough test for our side.
Despite having won just six out of 23 league fixtures that they have played on Saturday’s this season, the Reds have tasted defeat on only nine occasions.
In recent weeks, the FA Trophy winners have endured flickering fortunes, which has seen them defeat Grimsby Town and ourselves, but lose at lowly Hyde and Woking.
Tickets for the clash with Andy Morrell’s men sold out earlier this week, which means our team will be backed by over 6,000 supporters tomorrow.
Supporters are encouraged to make as much noise as possible, but please sit in the seat printed on your match ticket as this will help with safety inside the stadium.
Furthermore, we would also like to ask supporters to please refrain from entering the field at any point before, during or after the match.
Should we become Blue Square Bet Premier champions; a post-match trophy presentation will only take place on the pitch if it is clear of supporters.
UNABLE TO MAKE IT?
For those fans unable to attend this game, you may wish to tune into Premier Sports (Sky channel 428), who have selected our match for live TV coverage.
Alternatively, you can tune into StagsPlayer, where Martin Shaw, Nigel Pinnick and Steve Hartshorn will provide full-match commentary from 5.00pm.